Today is a busy day in my blog world. For the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour this month, taking place this Monday - Wednesday, April 21-23rd is Lisa Tawn Bergren's book, The Begotten, book #1 in The Gifted Series. I had put in an e-mail with a bunch of things to Lisa, but haven't heard back yet... So, today I'll get you started with the basics.
Click on the title above to go to the Amazon page for purchase or more information.
Click on Lisa's name above to go to her website, to find out more about her and her other books.
You may have heard of Lisa before, she also writes those wonderful God Gave Us... books.
God Gave Us Christmas, God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two, and coming soon God Gave Us Heaven, and How Big is God?
The Begotten, The Betrayed, and The Blessed (Fall 2008) are the three books that make up The Gifted Series. It is about a group of spiritual gifted people brought together to introduce religious and spiritual change, and are therefore battling forces of evil--and even the Church as this takes place during the time of the Inquisition.
Last summer, while working at the Embroidery Shop, I had a lot of time on my hands and therefore, spent that time doing a lot of reading. This book in hardback (see the first photo), The Begotten was new in the library and I started reading it. This was shortly after the crazy The Da Vinci Code madness had quieted down from the book and the film. I started reading this book and did not get very far and felt quite certain this book was not for me and that I could waste my time elsewhere and not on something that was full of such heresy and blasphemy. I returned the book and did not look back. Then when the title came (see second photo for paperback cover) the schedule for the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour I was intrigued and figured I must have stopped too early if it was a work that they were endorsing. So, here I try again. Also, the endorsement on the front of the paperback cover is none other than my all time favorite author, so obviously I had missed something!
Continue on down for a review, an an excerpt!
In the next few days check back for more interesting things with this book, series and genre.
I am reading the book again and I'm not prepared for a full review to share with you, but I can share a review that I found very intriguing from Deb at Books Movies & Chinese food:
Middle Ages Version of X-Men
A lot of times we like to play the what if question. This can lead to long drawn out debates on what could have happen if something had taken place. Sometimes we worry that things would have been radically different if things had changed. Other times times we speculate on the possibilities that could have taken place if only such and such had taken place. That is the premise of The Begotten. Paul had written many letters to churches. What if there had been another letter sent to a special group of people called The Gifted?
Set during the time of the Inquisition, the secret of Paul's extra letter is trying to be kept hidden by the holy leaders. They are against females holding high authority and wish to keep any knowledge about it in secret. Years later however, individuals with secret powers find each other as they strive to help out those in need. They are Christians, strong in their faith, battling those who have turned to the dark side.
This book was a wonderful engrossing read. I love books about medieval times with knights and lords and ladies. The whole story was fascinating when you imagine a group such as the Gifted existing in today's world or even the world back then. Daria was a very strong female character especially for that time period. She was highly respected by the people around her. The men are eager to protect her yet they do not see her as just a weak female or try to woo her. They are quick to defend her and risk their lives for not only her but anyone in their company. I felt this book in a genre like The Da Vinci Code, although far superior. Myth and legend are always interesting especially when you can incorporate scriptural truth with it. In my opinion, I felt the characters were like a middle ages version of X-Men or Heroes. Group of people with special powers that feel unwanted by the rest of the world.
I highly recommend this book for those who are fans of this genre, and for anyone who enjoys a really good story. If you have a good imagination, this book definitely makes good use of it.
Other participants in the tour are as follows:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
John W. Otte
Here is an excerpt from The Begotten, taken from Lisa's homepage.
Excerpt from The Begotten:
The Year of Our Lord, 1339
In his two years as a knight of the Church, they had burned at the stake a score of sinners. As each died, Gianni de Capezzana could not determine whether any were any less saint than he. This one was different.
For the first time, Gianni longed to immediately put his adversary to death, to drown the chill emanating from the Sorcerer in the heat of flame. This one was coldly sinful, delighting in the dark power—Gianni could feel the force of it surrounding, threatening. He glanced backward, over his shoulder, to make sure his men were right behind him. As they passed, the men filled and lit occasional oil lamps among the loculi to show them their way out.
The lamps did little to dispel the dark shadows from the passageway of the ancient catacombs before them, but now was not the time for torches or even any more small lamps. If they did not surprise this group ahead…Surprise was their principal ally. They would simply have to risk the dark.
Cold sweat rolled down his neck and down between his shoulder blades. The death hallways were cool enough to ease the heat of his armor, but fear—a feeling rare to him—made him hot as fever. “It is only the stories, the foolish stories of the villagers,” he muttered, as if mentoring a squire instead of himself. But his mouth was dry, making him want to pause, cough. He forced himself to take another step and then another, knowing if he stopped, he’d turn around and retreat.
It was dread. Different than the dread of battle—this fear filled his mind and soul. This was why he had been called to the Church, to do battle with evil, to hunt it down before it hunted the weak. But this…this threatened to overcome him. Over and over again he fought down the urge to turn and run. “Deo iuvante. May God give us His strength,” he whispered, clenching his teeth. “Send your angels, Lord God. Be with us in this.”
Sword in hand, his eyes scanned back and forth, briefly settling upon the loculi on either side, early Christian skeletons shelved like books in a scholar’s library. The Romans had burned their dead. It had been the Greeks who had insisted on coffins and death crates, and the Christians who adopted the cheap burial grounds. The cardinal had spoken of this place, having seen early Church documents. But the abandoned catacombs had long been lost to the overgrown hills of Roma. Never did Gianni believe he would be within them! Whatever happens to me here today, Lord God, do what Thy wish with my bones. Just bring me into Thy presence in heaven.
Aeneas appeared at the doorway. “Up ahead,” he whispered, casting a brief, curious eye about the room. But his mind was clearly on their adversary.
Gianni immediately turned and led the way Aeneas directed. Flickering light told him there was a torch ahead and he raised his hand to slow his company of knights. Their noise made him wince. There was no element of surprise possible, he realized, even with a stealthy approach. The stone caverns went on for miles, and carried sound just as far. Surely their approach was known by now, and if so, they were too late! “Charge!” he cried, in motion before the word fully left his lips, hearing his men follow after a moment’s hesitation. They roared together, a great cacophony meant to send an enemy to quaking.
His company of twenty-four filled a large room, lit by one torch in the center, and stopped in stunned silence. The stone altar…the blood…
A knight behind him began to quietly retch.
Gianni raised his torch higher and slowly walked forward. He swallowed hard, forced himself to touch the pooling blood. It was fresh. This travesty had happened within the hour. He looked up and around the room, noting tunnels that led away, each equally cold and silent. Horror ubique animos si simul ipse silentia terrent, he whispered, quoting Virgil. Fear and silence everywhere present terrify the soul.
He kneaded his temples with one hand, forcing himself to not be drawn into the fear. He must think! Their enemy was not far gone. He raised his torch again. “You men, light your torches. We must see where we are. What this place is.”
Aeneas and the others lit their torches and the walls of their cavernous hall came alive with light. One man behind him gasped. Another fell to his knees.
Gianni lifted his torch higher, perusing the frescoes, reading the ancient Latin. “If you are searching for them, here lies united a host of the Blessed. The venerable sepulchers enclose their bodies, but the royal palace of Heaven has carried…Here lies the companions of Sixtus…”
Aeneas was reading alongside him. “Not Pope Sixtus.”
Gianni looked about the room again and shook his head with grim fury. It was an ancient papal crypt. Six sarcophagi lined the room! His enemy had dared to do such evil here! Here, in the lost crypt of popes!
“Captain…” said a knight with a tremulous voice behind him.
Gianni turned. The knight in the center of the room, looking at the blood, pooled on the ground and atop the stone altar. It was then that Gianni saw it. It wasn’t an altar, but another sarcophagus, ornately carved on the outside.
“They sacrificed him, right here, atop the pope’s grave!” said the knight. Gianni walked toward him, dreading that he was right. What kind of man committed such sacrilegious acts? What kind of man dared to murder atop the monument of one of God’s own?
“The boy’s blood was put to good use, knight.”
Gianni whirled, facing the dim outline of a man just ahead along a passageway, standing against him in cold defiance.
“You will die! You will face the wrath of God!” Gianni cried, rushing forward.
“Captain, wait! To whom do you speak?”
Gianni looked back in confusion to Aeneas. “There! Ahead! Come!” But when his eyes went back to where he’d seen the man, he noted five different passageways bleeding off of the larger hall, and all lay empty. He swallowed the foul words that leapt to mind. “Did you not see him? Hear him?”
His fellow knight shook his head, brows furrowed in concern and fear.
“The sorcerer? He spoke to me!”
“They cannot see me,” the sorcerer whispered in Gianni’s right ear, and the knight whirled again, nearly nicking several of the closest men with his blade. They cried out, on alert with their leader, swords at the ready, but clearly confused by his actions.
“Captain,” Aeneas said urgently, drawing near his left as was their habit, eyes scanning with him. “What is it?”
“He is here,” Gianni said through gritted teeth, turning slowly, willing his eyes to see through the darkness.
“I was here,” whispered the voice in his left ear, “but am no longer. You are too late.”